Head Lice – What Are They and What Can You Do?

Head Lice – What Are They and What Can You Do?


September is Head Lice Prevention Month. Discovering you or your child has head lice, can be very upsetting and frustrating. The following information will aid in the prevention and treatment of head lice.


The Head Louse

Plural: head lice – small insects which are greyish brown in color. They only have the ability of infecting humans and do so by directly feeding off blood from the scalp. They can only be transferred from direct head to head contact or by sharing personal belongings.


Checking for Head Lice

Thankfully there are many programs available through schools, pharmacies, private companies, etc. which can provide education in the detection of head lice. If you do suspect the presence of head lice on you or your child, it is crucial to create separation from others’ scalps, as it is quickly spread. Moving lice are visible to the eye, which may be easier then an egg to spot.

To check for lice start on wet hair, parting the hair in small sections, using a small-tooth comb. Inspect the comb after each section. The use of a magnifying glass may be helpful.


Head Lice Treatment

Once head lice is diagnosed, using medicated shampoos and treatments specifically designed to treat lice will effectively treat the louse. Always follow direct manufacturer instructions, and continue to use product for the amount of time indicated.


Dandruff VS. Head Lice

Sometimes, they may seem as one. The main difference you will notice is dandruff is typically found on mid shaft to ends of hair strand, not attached to the scalp. Dandruff will also flake off when you shake your head or put your hands through your hair-lice will stay in place.



Lice can jump from head to head.

FALSE. Lice cannot jump or fly. It may only be passed from direct head to head contact or through sharing personal belongings.


Lice can infest your carpets, children’s stuffed animals, etc?

FALSE. Lice can only survive on humans by feeding the blood for a scalp.


Head Lice does not like tea tree oil?

TRUE. Spraying your brush, pillow and sheets with tea tree oil may aid in the prevention of lice. You may also consider washing periodically with a shampoo/conditioner which is tea tree based.


Lice prefer clean hair?

FALSE. Head lice does not have a preference in hair type. However, studies suggest hair which has an oil build up, and is not freshly washed may be harder for lice to attach to.

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